Chorley's new tactics for travelling football fans are designed to keep supporters and shoppers happy
Chorley needs to be better prepared for the arrival of travelling football fans - and could ask supporters' groups for likely stop-off points during away-day visits.
That was the message from a meeting between traders and councillors at which the borough emphasised that there was no ‘ban’ on supporters in the town centre.
“Pubs want the business from fans, but they don’t want the hassle of any problems,” Cllr Wilson said.
“It’s easy to think pubs just want to cash in, but if they have advanced notice, they can put the necessary arrangements in place.
“They can bring in extra workers or hire door staff - and still make money from a group of fans being in the pub for a couple of hours,” he added.
The council is planning to liaise more closely with the police to gather intelligence about games that might see a spike in visitors to the town.
Chorley has become a popular destination for fans en route to matches at nearby clubs including Preston North End, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.
But some local businesses have complained about the effect of large gatherings of fans on trade.
Cllr Wilson said that better planning could keep shoppers and traders happy, while also providing the opportunity to extend a warmer welcome to fans - in the form of meeters and greeters.
The council is going to meet with the Football Supporters’ Federation in the coming weeks. The organisation sharply criticised a letter which suggested fans were not welcome in Chorley town centre.
Individual supporters’ groups will now be contacted in advance of matches being played by their clubs nearby - although they are under no legal duty to provide any information about their plans.
Cllr Wilson added that traders were “satisfied” that the issue is now being dealt with, following a meeting of the Town Team on Monday evening.
“I am pretty sure [this plan] will work. Most fans are well-behaved,” Cllr Wilson said.
“But it’s all about actions now - that’s how we will be judged”.